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RCN exhibition traces the history of older people’s nursing

Aspects of Age exhibition looks at how far healthcare has come in 200 years
old photo of nurse attending patient in their own home

Aspects of Age exhibition looks at how far healthcare has come in 200 years

Vintage bedpans and certificates for workhouse nurses are just some of the items on display at an RCN exhibition.

The college's Aspects of Age exhibition explores 200 years of caring for older people, from the days of Victorian workhouse through to caring for people in their own homes.

Nursing artefacts

The exhibition features original RCN pamphlets on how to care for older people and how to set up a nursing home, an enamel bedpan, and a certificate of character for a workhouse nurse from 1912.

Specimens of sea snake from the 18th century also feature in the exhibition. These small lizards were once believed to have aphrodisiac and rejuvenating properties.

The way we care for older people in society has been transformed

Dawne Garrett,

Aspects of Age exhibition looks at how far healthcare has come in 200 years

Vintage bedpans and certificates for workhouse nurses are just some of the items on display at an RCN exhibition.

The college's Aspects of Age exhibition explores 200 years of caring for older people, from the days of Victorian workhouse through to caring for people in their own homes.

Nursing artefacts

The exhibition features original RCN pamphlets on how to care for older people and how to set up a nursing home, an enamel bedpan, and a ‘certificate of character’ for a workhouse nurse from 1912.

Specimens of ‘sea snake’ from the 18th century also feature in the exhibition. These small lizards were once believed to have aphrodisiac and rejuvenating properties.

‘The way we care for older people in society has been transformed’

Dawne Garrett, RCN professional lead for care of older people

The also includes an original pack of Viagra from when it was first licensed in 1998.

RCN professional lead for care of older people and dementia Dawne Garrett said the exhibition demonstrated how society’s attitudes to caring for older people had changed.

‘The way we care for older people in society has been transformed over the last 200 years,’ she said.

‘From the days of the Victorian workhouse to modern healthcare, the lives of older people have genuinely changed.’

Ms Garrett said she hopes looking at care practices for old people both past and present might inspire better care in the future.

Aspects of Age opened at the RCN Library and Heritage Centre in London on 11 April and runs until 20 September.


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